At the Marlinton Town Council meeting Monday evening, council discussed a variety of topics and made decisions which will affect the town in positive ways.
The biggest topic of discussion was the consent order from the West Virginia DEP [Department of Environmental Protection]. Council and its attorney, Tom White, and Lee Stone discussed the order, which is a culmination of civil penalties for violations concerning the town’s wastewater treatment facility, dating back to 2016.
White explained that he and Stone have worked with the DEP – presenting the town’s plan for a new sewer system, as well as the town’s willingness to pay the penalties and bring an end to the conflict.
“We’re going to work through our plan of corrective action to make the repairs we need to make, but that doesn’t resolve the civil penalty portion of the violations,” White explained.
“Tom and I would not be here and the mayor would not have proposed this for the councilmembers consideration if Tom and I didn’t believe that we were really at the end of the negotiation line on this consent order,” Stone added. “This is the culmination of several years of work, and we’ve really reached the dry point where there isn’t much else to do.”
Stone added that if council did not approve to move forward with the consent order and pay the penalties, the next course of action might include the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] taking action against the town.
“Either you resolve to pay it and put this behind you, and move forward with the plan of corrective action, keep your violations to an absolute minimum at best, figure – I hate to say it like this – it’s a cost of business going forward until the violations are finally extinguished or you risk being sued,” he said. “Being sued is going to be potentially much more expensive in the long run.”
Council discussed the matter and approved to follow the fifth revision of the consent order and all the parameters attached, which includes payment of $148,380 in penalties.
Council also discussed several resolutions and agreements with Region IV senior project specialist Cassie Lawson concerning the town’s sewer system improvement project.
Lawson explained the items which all fall under the larger improvement project. She said Resolution #5 is related to the smoke testing Dunn Engineering completed for the town. The resolution will cost $3,429.40 – 50 percent will be paid through the West Virginia Infrastructure Jobs and Development Council grant and the other 50 percent will be paid by the Town of Marlinton.
Lawson also explained the emergency project declaration resolution, which will allow the town to move forward with purchasing equipment for the improvement project without going through a bid process.
Council approved both items. It also approved the draft of a Letter of Understanding for the Region IV PDC administration agreement and approved the first payment of $1,000 for the emergency repairs project. The payment will be made with funding from the critical needs grant.
In other business, council approved
• a HubCAP team Letter of Intent for a VISTA for the Town of Marlinton and a budget not to exceed $1,000.
• to allow Pocahontas County High School to have a Homecoming Parade in Marlinton on Friday, October 13, at 5:30 p.m.
• approved a motion to require town employees to use sick, vacation or personal days if they test positive for COVID-19 or they are quarantined due to contact tracing.